Georgian Ambassador to China Dr. David Aptsiauri (WEI YAO)
The 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress will convene on October 18. In a recent interview with Beijing Review reporter Li Nan, Dr. David Aptsiauri, Georgian Ambassador to China, shared his views on China, the CPC and China-Georgia relations ahead of the Congress. The following is an edited version of the interview:
Beijing Review: How do you view China's achievements both at home and on the world stage since the 18th CPC National Congress was held in November 2012?
David Aptsiauri: During recent years, China has achieved enormous progress. It has overwhelmingly stepped forward in various directions. China today is one of the most important economic powers in the world. It has performed successfully economic reforms inside the country and has a high reputation in international relations today. The role of China in international affairs is definitely increasing. More and more important international events of global scale have already taken place in China, which is an indication that alongside economic achievements, China is now becoming a very important partner in international relations, contributing significantly to the stability and prosperity of the world.
It's difficult to make an overall evaluation of all achievements of China in a few words, but in my view, what is most interesting is that China is keeping stability inside and trying to bring the seed of stability to international relations. That is very important.
China is developing despite the financial crisis in certain regions of the world that impacted world economic development. China still maintains stability despite external risks. I think having kept the balanced, harmonized environment inside the country is the most important achievement of China.
What do you think about CPC's governing capability?
The CPC is the fundamental standpoint for developing the country. It is central and crucial. When we speak about the achievements of recent years and the role of the CPC as a leading motor in the progress, the contribution and the role of the leader of the Party, General Secretary Xi Jinping, are very important. His contribution is definitely enormous. He is esteemed as a party leader and a country leader. We wish President Xi and the CPC success after the congress.
China's political system is different from that of many other countries. What's your comment on it? How do you compare it to your country's political system?
On the one hand, making the comparison is not easy, since each country has its own background history and specific development. In any case, in spite of the [various] stages and changes, there are a lot of different lessons in history. The political system should be made stable. That's why we consider that if the ruling party in a country brings and keeps stability in the reform process. That is very helpful to modernize the economy of the country and improve the social condition of the people. I think the CPC is trying to pursue this policy.
On the other hand, making the comparison is easy. We should learn lessons, including my country, to benefit from the positive experience in any country, in any political system, and with any political party on top. I can take some interesting lessons from China's experience.
Georgia is trying to make progress, and we have achieved certain progress in recent years. This kind of exchange of experience is crucial.
What the country has impressed you most during your term in China?
China is striving to maintain effective domestic policy development based on a reform program and contributes to the stability of its external environment. So that's why in making the country function well, China contributes to the peaceful development of not only itself but also the world at large. Keeping the balance and making it sustainable for a long period of time provide the best advantage and are the most interesting element of China's experience.
The world today is full of turbulence. China today is the place that is trying to provide a lesson in stable development and irreversible economic progress based on long-term goals. I think this is the most important condition for successful development.
What are your expectations of this Congress and China-Georgia ties in the next five years?
The CPC National Congress is an important event not only for China. It should give us an opportunity to be acquainted with China's development strategy for the next five years. Of course, it is a matter of very important interest. We are very much interested in the successful outcomes of the congress since we are interlinked as friends and partners despite the size difference and distance between China and Georgia. We would like to sincerely wish you success in your work.
The impact of the decisions made by the Congress, the most important gathering of the CPC, is not only for Party members here, it will give us the vision of the next five years of China's development. It's important for global development today, with the strategic vision of Chinese Government, with China's sincere desire to cooperate with more and more partners and friends, in particular under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi.
As for Georgian and Chinese relations, I am very happy that in recent years, our relations have developed dynamically and positively. We have achieved interesting progress in certain fields. More and more people from China are visiting Georgia. We have more and more Chinese companies investing in and trading with Georgian partners. The Georgian business community also shows its desire to be more active in Chinese market. We have increased wine exports to China enormously, and we have a lot of interesting projects ahead.
What do you think of the Belt and Road Initiative? Has cooperation between China and your country achieved new progress in the past five years?
From the very beginning, when China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative, we have expressed our keen interest to take part in the Initiative. We are very happy that Georgia was one of the first countries to sign a memorandum with the Chinese Government on cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. And, we successfully started the implementation of the projects within this program. Georgia has always played an important part in east-west trade relations. We convened the first Tbilisi Belt & Road Forum in 2015, with China's partners as co-organizers and received a large delegation from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. A lot of businessmen and government officials participated in the event, which was a success, and we decided to continue it in future in close cooperation with China. We plan to hold a second forum which we expect that government delegations and business groups from China will attend. A number of companies have already expressed their willingness to participate.
Georgia looks likely to be a very important element in the promotion of projects in the South Caucasus. By the end of this year, we will activate the free trade agreement between Georgia and China. So, the second forum will be much more important, since many companies will be able to benefit from the more favorable environment. Possibly, there will be some very interesting and pragmatic talks between prospective partners.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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